Italian court recognises US adoption by lesbian couple

An Italian court has ruled that an Italian-American woman’s US adoption of her wife’s biological child is valid in Italy, after being initially rejected by the Bologna City Council and Italy’s Interior Ministry.

The couple, who have two children conceived through artificial insemination, are each the biological parent of one child and the adoptive parent of the other.

While the adoptions were approved by a court in Oregon in 2004, the pair ran into legal difficulties after relocating to Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, the ancestral home of one of the women, and applying for their American documentation to be transferred.

Their application was initially rejected on the grounds that Italian law did not recognise stepchild adoption by same-sex couples at that time. According to The Local, Italy’s Constitutional Court also reviewed the case, which began in 2014.

During the course of their legal challenge, Italy passed the Cirinnà bill in 2016, which gave same-sex partners similar rights to those held by heterosexual married couples. Religious groups strongly opposed the bill, however, which stopped short of allowing same-sex adoption, even in cases where the second partner in a couple was the child’s biological parent.

It took until 2017 for an Italian court to rule that the non-biological parent of a child raised by a same-sex couple could be legally recognised as their parent.

LGBT rights around the world are increasingly being enshrined in law (Scott Barbour/Getty)

The couple’s lawyer, Claudio Pezzi, said the ruling represented “another important step in the struggle to affirm the rights of minors and homosexual couples in our country, reaffirming, among other things, the important principle of opening up our system to an international dimension.”

In concluding, the Court of Appeals judges stated that the women’s parenting skills were not in question.

The decision follows comments made by Italy’s families minister, Lorenzo Fontana, in June this year that same-sex families “don’t exist.” When questioned on his remark, he replied that, “under the law, they don’t exist now.”

Fontana, who is from the right-wing Lega party, has a history of consistently opposing LGBT rights.

In July this year, he told a parliamentary hearing that same-sex couples who have children via surrogacy abroad should not be recognised as legal guardians.

Fontana has previously said that gay marriage and mass immigration threatened to “wipe out our communities and traditions.”